Well, when I got in to work today at that problematic high school, the verdict was that admin simply won’t pay me the amount that the instructor had promised me (and that admin had agreed to, btw…I think someone signed off on a proposal without looking at it). The instructor told me I could either pose for the sculpture class for free or sit it out entirely. I hate to bail on the kids partway through their sculptures but I chose to sit it out.
The sculpture teacher took it pretty well, but did feel the need to tell me that I was getting paid better-than-usual wages already and that really, the $150 I’d been promised for the day was too much. I agree – it is a lot of money for what I’d be doing. I was thrilled to be offered that much and had been counting on that money to help me pay my expenses this month. My bowing out isn’t because I thought they weren’t offering me enough money; had the instructor offered me $100 from the getgo, I would have been fine with that. I bowed out because, essentially, a representative of the school had said “Hey, do you want to do X amount of work for $150?” and I said “Yes, I will do that work for that price” – and then the school refused to give me the full amount after I’d already posed. I held up my end of the bargain; they didn’t. And then they suggested that I just go ahead and pose for the sculpture class for free, since I was at the school anyway. Ummmm, no. I’m not going to do a favour for a place that just fucked me over.
I did attempt a counter-offer; I foolishly thought that I had some leverage – that a school of the arts might be saddened by the idea of their sculpture class having to stop sculpting me after just one day. Apparently not. The art instructor did fight hard on my behalf and totally supported me when I said I wouldn’t do the sculpture class for free. I like him.
Initially I was afraid that asserting my boundaries would get me blacklisted from this school, but you know what? I’ve realized that I don’t actually give a fuck. They’re so far away from me that I have to leave at 7:30 am to get there on time; there’s that bloody awful three hours of purgatory between classes; I feel jumpy as fuck around the high school kids (they whisper and giggle while I’m posing. Very likely they’re not talking about me but about their own self-involved teenager shit, but it’s still unnerving) and, last but certainly not least, the school fucked me over for money and got me all wrapped up in a budget squabble I should’ve been kept out of. So totally unprofessional. I am okay with not being asked back.